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NJ Gov. Murphy mandates vaccines for state health-care and other front-line workers

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Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s governor, speaks at a news conference after touring the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center Covid-19 vaccination site in Edison, New Jersey, Jan. 15, 2021.

Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy mandated vaccines for a variety of the state’s front-line workers at a news conference Monday, setting a Sept. 7 deadline for employees spanning the health care and prison sector.

Murphy added that employees who fail to get vaccinated must comply with regular coronavirus testing up to twice per week. The mandate applies to all staff in New Jersey’s hospitals, corrections facilities and assisted living centers.

“I want to make perfectly clear … that if we do not see significant increases in vaccination rates among the employees in these settings, we are ready and willing to require all staff to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment,” Murphy said at the news conference.

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Murphy’s latest measure comes less than a week after he issued a statement recommending that vaccinated and unvaccinated state residents wear masks in public indoor settings where there is an elevated chance of contracting the coronavirus. Citing Covid cases “trending in the wrong direction,” Murphy and Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli in a statement noted the increased transmissibility of the delta variant as a determining factor for the advisory.

Murphy originally lifted New Jersey’s indoor mask mandate with an executive order on May 24 to align with the CDC’s updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals. In his order, Murphy also eliminated social distancing requirements for businesses and capacity limits on indoor gatherings.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one of Murphy’s frequent collaborators on Covid protocols, mandated vaccines for the state’s transportation workers Monday morning, just days after issuing a similar mandate affecting state hospital workers.

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Data from Johns Hopkins University indicates that New Jersey’s seven-day coronavirus case average reached 938 last week, a jump of nearly 38% from the week before. The CDC reports that 77% of New Jersey residents over 12 years old have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose.

— CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this reporting.

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